New data provides a dramatic example of how politics matters much less to most Americans than the nation’s political leaders want to believe.
Just 63% of voters recognize that Democrats currently have majority control in the U.S. House of Representatives. A ScottRasmussen.com national survey found that 19% mistakenly believe the GOP is in control, 5% believe it is evenly divided, and 14% are not sure. Results are similar when asked about the U.S. Senate. Just 58% know the GOP has a Senate majority while 19% think Democrats are in charge.
One reason for the lack of knowledge may be a perceived lack of relevance. Only a third of voters think Congress is even Somewhat Likely to address the nation’s major issues before the next election. And, just 23% of voters believe their own Representative in Congress is the best person for the job.
Roughly eight-out-of-ten senior citizens know the correct answers about partisan control of Congress. However, among voters under 35 there is limited awareness. Among these younger voters, 39% believe Democrats have a majority in the House while 32% mistakenly believe the GOP is still in charge. The numbers are a bit better for the Senate. Still, only 45% of these young voters know the correct answer (see crosstab results).
Men are more aware of the partisan control than women. Suburban voters are more aware than those in urban or rural settings. Suburban women were one of the most studied demographic groups in Election 2018 and are often cited as a reason the GOP lost control of the House. However, just 58% of suburban women know which party controls the House. Fifty-two percent (52%) of them know which party controls the Senate.
This data raises significant questions about how public reaction to Congressional actions should be interpreted. Most pundits treat the partisan control of Congress as a basic and significant fact. For many voters, it is not. Few, for example, expected Congress to get much done when the Republicans were in charge. That hasn’t changed since Democrats won control of the House.
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The national survey of 1,003 Registered Voters was conducted March 1-2, 2019 by ScottRasmussen.com and HarrisX, a polling company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology). It has a 3.1 percentage point Margin of Error with a 95% level of confidence.
Neither Scott Rasmussen nor ScottRasmussen.com has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).